HOUSTON — The state of Texas opened an investigation into Operation Lone Star Wednesday.
It comes after a report about the Texas Department of Public Safety's treatment of people attempting to cross the border illegally.
Texas DPS launched an internal investigation, but Texas Democrats are calling for a federal investigation and criminal charges.
The email that started the controversy was an internal message from a trooper medic, raising concerns about Operation Lone Star’s tactics. In the July 3 email, the trooper wrote, "I believe we have stepped over a line into the inhumane." The trooper listed examples, "we were given orders to push the people back into the water to go to Mexico."
He said they refused the orders and said there was "the very real potential of exhausted people drowning."
He also relayed stories of people getting caught in razor wire, including an account of a 19-year-old pregnant woman he found stuck along the border. She was having a miscarriage.
DPS Communications Chief Travis Considine responded to the report on Twitter saying, "Troopers give migrants water. They treat their wounds. They save them from drowning. They also do everything possible to deter them from risking their lives in the first place."
Considine also shared screenshots of an email with DPS Director Steven McCraw that was sent to his chain of command calling for a comprehensive review of procedures from a medical perspective. In the email, McCraw wrote, "The smugglers care not if the migrants are injured, but we do, and we must take all necessary measures to mitigate the risk to them."
The report escalated tensions between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the federal government over border security measures being implemented by the state. On Tuesday, Abbott's office sent a statement contradicting the report.
"No orders or directions have been given under Operation Lone Star that would compromise the lives of those attempting to cross the border illegally," it said.
Here's Abbott's full statement:
“Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry as President Biden’s dangerous open border policies entice migrants from over 150 countries to risk their lives entering the country illegally. The absence of razor wire and other deterrence strategies encourages migrants to make unsafe and illegal crossings between ports of entry, while making the job of Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers more dangerous and difficult. President Biden has unleashed a chaos on the border that’s unsustainable, and we have a constitutional duty to respond to this unprecedented crisis.”
Texas DPS has been adamant that there is no policy instructing troopers to withhold water or push people in the water.